January 16, 2009

The Four Good Guys

Once upon a time, there were four good guys. They were intelligent, strong, full of passion and had dreams in their eyes. They thought they had clear objectives when they passed out as management graduates. It was the time to revel in their achievements and to throw hats in the air as a sign of their esteemed success. They passed out and promised to make it big in life and stay in touch, just like when they were staying at the same floor of the hostel. Rahul, Kumaresh, Pallav and Shivam cherished their times together and went on in their lives. Summers, rains, winters, autumn, work, office, malls, movies, girlfriends, wives, cars, football, kids, building house, hopes, desires, greed… time flew. Life took different course for the four good guys. There is randomness in everything that’s real. Is there a square? Can two sides be of same length till infinite points of decimal, or is there an exact 90.000… degrees that can be drawn? These are just the models by which we see a simplistic view of randomness that exists around. Life throws random things at us. The four guys were no exceptions but they were strong, strong enough to face any eventuality that might challenge them. It was a quest for money or material, fame or glory, love or happiness, satisfaction or what? They had little idea what they actually wanted and with the mad rush around they didn’t sit down to think. Was that a real mistake? Only time can tell.

Rahul was a simple guy who was worked hard. He knew how to derive little pleasures of life which people either ignore in their bigger pursuits or consider them to too petty to be cherished. He finished his education and went ahead to work in a big firm in Mumbai. He was open and accommodating and so he didn’t find it much difficult to cope with corporate culture and likes of that. He worked hard as he always did and stepped up the ladder at a convenient pace without stretching too much. He wasn’t exhausted or burnt down by his own expectations which were always kept at an obtainable level. He returned back from office at 8 PM and spent in company of friends or computer games until he got married. Is marriage a big deal? Well, yes for some people. Some people don’t compromise on what they think is the single largest factor that decides life and the course of it. Some are too picky and have exact constraints to be fulfilled. Some are just not really bothered about it and play it cool. Rahul probably himself didn’t know what category he falls into, but as he was open and candid he didn’t find it too difficult to settle down. Everyone wished him and he rode on his path steadily. Often he called up Pallav, Shivam or Kumaresh to know how he is doing. How is his wife? And children? Did you go somewhere for a trip? New car? Remember the hostel parties? The discussions were in short sentences and then to monosyllables and often ended with a bye and a promise to meet. All were busy and had their own problems, who will talk at length and where’s the time to meet? But those thoughts never surfaced, they were hidden deep down. Time flew, kids were born and they grew up. Rahul had a kind of life - 10 hours job, fat salary, a good wife, school going kids, social status, circle, gadgets, quite some time to pursue hobbies, yearly trips, hopes, desires… He was leading what the author calls White Life.

Kumaresh, are you still a geek? How’s your son? Pallav wondered when he had a talk with Kumaresh after 3 years, one fine Sunday in 2021. Kumaresh whisked away his question with a laugh and told him about a new technology or product that he is involved in at work. Kumaresh worked in a big firm after his graduation and loved to deal with technical things. He gladly accepted when his firm decided to send him to US for 5 years on a mission-critical project, although he wondered why just five years? He enjoyed his work and the the kind of life he was leading. Never a relentless speaker, he knew how to self-contain and work was never a big worry for him. He was pushed for marriage and he reluctantly married and started a new chapter. His life went smoothly, with occasional events of family happiness and outings and a great satisfaction in terms of personal interest. He made big bucks, became very rich but it didn’t had any significant effect on him. His family-wife and kids were happy and he was as calm and composed as ever. He had a kind of life where he worked 13 hours a day, earned tremendous money, lived in luxury, pursued his interests and all that may be at a little expense of personal life? He wasn’t the most romantic person around and his family often wished if he had a bit more of time for them. He had small refreshing talks with his other three hostel friends and he was a big man, leading what the author calls Blue Life.

Pallav never had a silent mind- one thing or the other was always turning topsy-turvy in his grey chambers. He had a philosophical outlook and preferred to stay content. It wasn’t difficult for him to adjust in the new found corporate life after graduating. He was curious- he learnt new things and being a hard worker, it was almost a cakewalk for him to do good continuously. But he wondered why to do all this? What is that I am going to achieve after all this? He was peaceful and his curiosity took him to new places. He evaluated his life and seeks answers for his questions. Is there a soul-mate? What is next for me to achieve? Seeking an objective view of life, he pondered while he worked and as always, time flew. He got married and settled happily. He didn’t run after big money but he kept the work and life balanced just at a point which always left him in bewildered- a little this side or that side? Leisure has a cost, if I work more, I will earn more and I will keep my family and myself in comfort but ultimately ended up doing otherwise. He enjoyed his evenings and waited for them the whole day. Office work was easy for him and he was popular and progressed at an easy pace. He kept the balance which was important for him and valued his time off the shelf. Kids grew and he was content looking at them. His thoughts never kept him idle and he had a kind of life where he still had a lot to do, sufficient money, great loving family, nice job where he wasn’t bogged down, thoughts and hopes and a little concern about future, a seemingly decent balance, maybe? He was leading what the author calls Green Life.

Shivam was a dynamic guy and good at almost whatever he did. He was enthusiastic and never shied away from responsibilities. Probably, that’s why he achieved so much success after he graduated. He put his best efforts at work and reaped the benefits straight away. He got good job, made good progress, earned a lot and moved on in life without worrying or thinking too much about issues on which he didn’t exercise much control. He was practical and focused and soon after he married and started the new life. Again as it was said, he never worried about the finesse but went on doing things which were to be done at the given time. Somehow down the line, he became puzzled about life. He started remembering those good old days when he was a good sportsman and wondered why he can’t do it now. He realized the burden on his work responsibilities, clients, files and likes of that. He wanted to know if he had taken the right decisions until now. But who knows? The real mistake which was hidden until now has suddenly surfaced, maybe for all four of them equally. He, just like his other three friends, still enjoys the five-star hotels, the luxury and benefits but wants to achieve more- not just in terms of money but also in personal life. A good family life and wonderful kids is what he has at this time, 2024 AD and he is bullish about the further prospects. He couldn’t be brought down by difficulties and he loves to fight on. He has a kind of life which is full of dynamism, may be frequent travels, luxuries of all sorts, big money, contacts, big house, a happy satisfied family life, desire to do more, and the ambition that doesn’t die down. He often enjoys his small phone chats with Pallav, Rahul and Kumaresh and remembers the convocation day and how different people went on different tracks. He stays happy with his kind of life which the author calls Red Life.

It’s 2024 AD and the story doesn’t end here.

PS- The characters mentioned are author’s figment of imagination. It is just the imagination not the perception necessarily. The author himself is a friend of these guys and shared the same hostel, once upon a time. White, Blue, Green, Red or something else, is there any answer to this?